The weekend is here again, and with the advent of spring days, you're probably often wondering where and how to diversify your daily routine and get away from the city's rhythm for a day. For people without children, it is not so complicated - you don’t need to take into account their pace and look for attractions that would be interesting for the young ones. But for families it is a real adventure to have a walk or a hike with the kids. It should not be too long, but it should present something new and exciting to observe. From this point of view, most of the mountain routes and eco-trails are not an option, as they are mainly related to breathtaking natural views, but not for a child.
That is why today the team of the only tourist bilingual travel guide under the hills has selected three destinations that can offer something new for the little ones to see.
Asenovgrad Paleontological Museum
We assume that most of you have already visited the Natural History Museum in Plovdiv and you even know all the exhibits by heart. But over the weekend we suggest you combine a walk outside the city, eating something sweet in everyone's favorite Asenovgrad confectionery Niko and visiting the Dimitar Kovachev Paleontological Museum.
The first floor of the museum exposition, created by a team of NPM-BAS, was completed in 1995. Its exposition presents the evolution of proboscis animals. A particularly impressive exhibit is the replica of the Deinotherium gigantissimum, whose skeleton is over 4 m high. It was found near the village of Ezerovo by Dimitar Kovachev, excavated by an expedition of Sofia University led by Prof. Vasil Tsankov and restored and erected in the paleontological museum of the Faculty of Geology and Geography at Sofia University by Assoc. Prof. Ivan Nikolov.
The so-called hyparion mammal fauna from the late Miocene of Bulgaria is presented in the thirty exhibition windows on the second floor. The drawings and the diorama in this exhibition are the work of the artist-animalist Velizar Simeonovski, an associate collaborator at the Chicago Museum of Natural History and the NPM-BAS. Later the exposition was expanded with the fossil finds from the Early Pliocene, discovered during the Bulgarian-French paleontological excavations near the village of Dorkovo (West Rodopi), organized (1985-1987) by Nikolay Spasov (NPM-BAS) and led by Prof. Erber Thomas of the Paris Museum of Natural History.
The collection of the Dimitar Kovachev Paleontological Branch is unique in that it is one of the richest paleontological collections in the world from the so-called Pickermyan hyparion fauna of the late Miocene, when nature in the Balkans, with its rhinos, giraffes, monkeys and antelopes was similar to today's African savannah. The preserved fossil fauna is approximately 8-7 million years old, and the collection contains about 35,000 fossil bone remains.
This suggestion is for slightly older children, as there is a path from the parking lot to the cave itself, which is not very easy. The cave was declared a natural landmark in 1961, when it was officially opened by tourists. It is extremely small - only 145 meters long, but in them it has gathered all the forms of cave formations. It is named after the snow-white deposits, formed millions of years ago and frozen in bizarre shapes - the Dolphin, the Karakachanka, the Statue of Liberty, the Dwarves, the Parrot, and the eponymous Snow White - a stalagmite in the form of a girl waiting for her prince. It is located in the last hall - the Magical one. We already have a detailed article about Snezhanka Cave with photos from our visit, so be sure to learn more details.
In terms of its splendor and beauty, it is ranked among the 4 most beautiful Bulgarian caves - Magurata, Ledenika and Saeva Dupka. It is visited annually by over 10,000 people.
The Planetarium in the town of Smolyan
On September 6, 1975, the largest Planetarium with a People's Astronomical Observatory in Bulgaria opened in Smolyan. To promote astronomical knowledge, more than 50 programs (sessions) are presented in the star hall of the Planetarium. Among them are: fairy tale programs for the youngest children, many learning sessions, overview and thematic sessions for a wide audience. Foreign guests of the Planetarium are offered programs in foreign languages: Russian, French, German, English, Greek, Turkish. A series of special programs - musical and poetic - complement the variety of star performances.
In the "Heart" of the Planetarium is the round star hall with a domed ceiling and a diameter of 12.5 m and 150 seats. At its center is the main projector - the Space Flight Planetarium (RFP), which creates an artificial starry sky, an exact copy of the real thing. The device allows accurate reproduction of the movements of the celestial sphere, the Sun, the Moon and the planets, various astronomical objects and phenomena. The dome of the observatory to the Planetarium is 3 m high. A telescope-reflector is mounted below it. There are several telescopes in the planetarium, with the help of which the Sun and the active areas of the solar photosphere can be observed in clear skies during the day, and every Wednesday night - the Moon, planets, double stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies and more. A sundial and a vertical gnomon have been built on the astro-site, as well as an observation platform on which small mobile telescopes are mounted.
An interesting place to visit for all young and old lovers of astronomy and the planets.
It is a good idea to find out about working hours and the order of performances beforehand. Currently it has been renovated and is closed but always check for updates.